AMMA members are featured in a new report We Set the Tone: Eliminating Everyday Sexism released by the Male Champions of Change coalition.

More than 100 chiefs of some of Australia’s largest employers and most influential organisations are taking practical steps to identify and eliminate everyday sexism in the workplace, inviting all leaders to join them.

The coalition consulted more than 6,000 employees across a range of sectors to understand what everyday sexism looks like; its impact on employees, career advancement and productivity; and actions that can be taken to address the often insidious and harmful workplace dynamic.

The outcomes are captured in the report released today.

According to the report, there are six common manifestations of everyday sexism:

  • Insults that masquerade as jokes;
  • Devaluing women’s views or voices;
  • Role stereotyping;
  • Preoccupation with physical appearance over competence;
  • Assumptions that caring and careers don’t mix; and,
  • Unwarranted gender labelling such as when women are diminished for being ‘too aggressive’ or men because they ‘lack competitive edge’.

Kate Jenkins, Sex Discrimination Commissioner said while sectors respond decisively to more explicit forms of sexual harassment, everyday sexism is still evident in workplace interactions, systems, policies and decisions that affect both individual careers and organisational cultures.

“Typically people don’t raise it because it can be seen as too small to make a fuss about and few want to be seen to be ‘rocking the boat’. But consistently in my work – with Victoria Police, the Australian Defence Force, the Universities and Male Champions of Change – we hear that these things do matter. They are out-dated at best, harmful at worst. Unless we tackle everyday sexism, the most innovative policies and initiatives designed to advance gender equality and inclusive and effective organisations will not deliver the change we need.”

Having developed a framework and language to identify and respond to everyday sexism, the Male Champions emphasise the importance of open discussion, goodwill and leadership in taking steps to eliminate it.

James Fazzino leads global explosives and fertiliser company Incitec Pivot in a traditionally male-dominated industry and has seen the direct benefits of a changed approach.

“Men in our industry clearly don’t experience everyday sexism in the way that many women do. We found that assumptions about the roles that were suitable for women and men in our organisation influenced everyday decisions about advancement and promotions and were reinforced by our talent management systems. By understanding and addressing the problem we have enabled more women to take up non-traditional leadership roles in areas such as chemical facilities management, engineering and distribution.”

Signatories to the report include Victoria Police, NAB, Incitec Pivot, AFL, Medibank, La Trobe University, Qantas and AGL.

The Australian Women in Resources Alliance (AWRA) is a national workforce gender diversity initiative facilitated by Australia’s resources and energy industry employer group, AMMA.

AMMA built AWRA in response to the growing aspirations of AMMA members to increase the representation of women at all levels in their organisations.

AWRA assists employers on their gender diversity journey with the overarching goal to increase women’s participation in the resources, allied and related construction sectors to 25 per cent by 2020, thus delivering a diverse mix of skills and talent to drive productivity and innovation.

The AWRA e-Mentoring Program is delivered by AMMA, and funded by the Australian Government. Sign up for our next AWRA event here.